Lifelong art student
Toby Nadler (photo from Louis Brier Jewish Aged Foundation)
On Thursday, Oct. 23, Louis Brier Home and Hospital hosted an exhibit of accomplished artist and resident Toby Nadler’s work. The exhibit was open to all residents.
In 1970, Nadler began to study oil painting at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art with the late Arthur Lismer, one of Canada’s Group of Seven. After completing a teacher’s certificate at Macdonald College in Montreal, she spent four years teaching children at elementary schools in Montreal’s inner city, where art was one of the subjects, and took evening art courses at Concordia University. She graduated from Concordia in 1980 with a bachelor of fine arts degree, majoring in studio art.
Later, she studied watercolor and multimedia art with Judy Garfin, a Vancouver artist, at McGill University. After a few years, Nadler became interested in Chinese watercolors and calligraphy, and studied privately with a group of other Westerners. The teacher was Virginia Chang, who exhibited her students’ work.
In 1984, Nadler and her late husband Moe moved to Vancouver. Nadler wished to continue studying Chinese art in her new city. She also studied Mandarin at the Chinese library and watercolors with Nigel Szeto at the Chinese Cultural Centre. He was impressed with her work but, after seeing her Western paintings, recommended she continue with her own style, as her personality did not come across in the Chinese paintings to the same degree.
Nadler joined the English Bay Arts Club and the University Women’s Club, where she studied watercolor with various artists, as well as exhibiting there. After a few years, she became an active member of the Federation of Canadian Artists. She volunteered and took courses with their artists and exhibited her own work around the city, including at the Vancouver Public Library. During an exhibit at Oakridge Shopping Centre, an art dealer from Hong Kong admired her work and wanted to know if she had unframed paintings, so that he could roll them up and ship them to his two galleries in Hong Kong. He bought 10 works.
Studying with Lone Tratt, Nadler took watercolor and acrylic courses at the Jewish Community Centre of Greater Vancouver, where she also exhibited. Upon request, she donated six of her paintings to decorate their seniors lounge. Her home was decorated with many of her paintings.
A resident of Louis Brier since August 2014, Nadler still occasionally paints at her leisure. The Louis Brier Jewish Aged Foundation accepted her donation of more than 10 paintings as part of their collection to decorate the halls of the home. They also have another few pieces, which they will use to decorate the interior of residents’ and staff rooms. It is hoped that her unique style will bring pleasure to all who see them.
At the Oct. 23 exhibit, Nadler’s son, Peter Nadler, spoke, giving a history of his mother as an artist, and Dvori Balshine thanked Nadler for all of her artwork donations. Music therapist Megan Goudreau and recreational therapist Ginger Lerner composed and performed an original song in Nadler’s honor about her contributions to the art world.